June 30, 2022

8 Tips to Increase User Retention in Mobile Games

Being an experienced User Acquisition manager, you will realise how indispensable user retention is to the growth of your business. Acquiring users is not the real success but turning them into active high-value users is. 

What is Retention Rate?

Retention rate in mobile game apps refers to the percentage of users who install your app and play games in it, data are calculated on a specific day from the day it was downloaded (Day 0). 


Usually, the biggest churn happens during the first few days, after installing the app. Afterwards, retention decreases more slowly. So it is crucial to boost your retention rate in the first 3 days before users decide to give a pause to your platform. Below is the chart on median Retention Rates for casual and hyper-casual games on Day 1, Day 7 and Day 30.

When should you measure retention?

There are no strict dates for reviewing your retention, but typically, UA managers often check the retention on: 

Day 1 

This shows if you are effectively onboarding new users, letting you know what kind of first impression your app or game makes on people who have just installed it. 

Day 7 

This indicates how much engagement users have had with your apps so far - looking at drop-off from Day 1 to Day 7 is a valuable insight to analyse app performance so as to predict the longevity of the game

Day 30 

At this point, it is not uncommon to see your user retention shrink dramatically. Users remaining will likely be using your app regularly and are a valuable revenue driver -  this is the ideal segment to target with in-app purchases. 

Why is Retention Rate important?

By measuring Retention Rate (RR), you can analyse when users stop interacting with your app and take actions to improve it - like developing new levels, features, or updates. This helps to increase lifetime value (LTV) of your users and to grow your revenue. Retention Rate is also an important metric used to analyse LTV. 

Let’s take a look at tactics you can use to boost your app’s user retention:

1. First impression should be morish

A couple of minutes looking at your mobile game would indicate whether the users are being captivated by it. 

It is commonplace that many platforms ask users to fill in their particulars in the very first seconds they come in and this is how they lose players earlier than they would.

Bear in mind that users are lazy and their aim here is to relax so they are quite reluctant to fill anything from the start. Your best practice is to let them do what they want from the first entry. Avoid filling forms or showing complex instructions from the beginning. Be easy and let them play the game right away before pushing ads or log in options.

The easier it takes, the more likely they would not skip out of your app. This boosts retention rate allowing users to be returned customers. 

2. Upgrade Screen Time Experience

2.1 User interface

One of elements that makes games more entertaining than other forms of escapism is that it satisfies the unrealistic side of reality. In games, users want to become heroes or queens that is impossible to do in reality so creating characters that quench this thirst and designing colourful user interfaces based on customised schemes would be ideal for users of all ages.

Users would love to use their creativity, building in customisation. Giving permissions for users to opt for personal avatar, music and background etc would make it something of their own and chances are they would make a return to do their work.

2.2 Loading Screen Time

No one is patient enough to keep looking at a slow - motion loading screen. It wastes time and you 

might lose a number of impatient users. 

Remember that there are still an awful lot of games available. So make it fast and avoid interruption or lock-out. 

3. Improve on stickiness 

No matter how hard you advertise, if your products could not entertain users, surely they will leave. 

Therefore, it is more important to concentrate on improving your products that players find it relaxing and interesting. Think: What makes the users keep coming back?

4. Personalised Tutorials

Use A/B testing to put yourself in the users’ shoes and see how a personalised experience works compared to a guided and manufactured one.

Instead of step-by-step guidance, let them take their time and discover by themselves without much intervention in the first place, only give pointers for directions in a couple of few seconds.

5. Avoid ad overload 

Ad revenue can be your bread and butter but before overloading your users with ads,focus on engagement instead. 

A new gamer being bombarded with ads showing on their screen might feel annoying, having to click the close button could drain their enthusiasm which eventually leads to a drop off. 

The right way to convince them to stay is to boost your app value and entertainment factors. These increase the possibilities of return traffic for your mobile games.

6. In-App Events And Vouchers

Watching ads as an incentive to gain extra in-app benefits like extra time or special tokens is a common tactic in many casual or hyper-casual games.

This is a strategy to engage the lower value users as they have not had an in- app purchase. But it is still a nice approach to retain them for further strategies and persuade them to buy. 

7. Extend Premium Services To Increase User Retention

Premium services can come in many forms, you can either offer personalised discounts or extend certain premium services for users with IAP (In-app purchase). 

Those tactics are working well with many clients, try A/B testing and choose the best one that suits your clients’ preferences.

8. Release Regular Updates

Assuring players that the back office is active and attentive to their needs might give them a sense of connection by releasing regular updates.

Updates also act as a promise for user experience upgrades and new levels in the future. This builds excitement for players and gives them a reason to keep playing if they’ve already completed the available levels. 

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